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Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's Openess is a Patent Trap

CR0WTR0B0T writes: Gartner is warning that the recent move by Microsoft to pledge more support for interoperability is really a patent trap. "IT research firm Gartner is warning open source software makers that Microsoft's pledge to open up its documentation library to third parties carries legal risks for developers who aren't careful about how they access the technical trove. 'Do not use Microsoft's documentation unless you have rigorous processes to keep track of applicable patents,' said Gartner, in a new research report." In addition, non-commercial open source could be exposed if it is used by another commercial product, and we all know how rigorous developers are following processes, right?
Government

Submission + - Border wall is bypassing the well connected (texasobserver.org)

MazzThePianoman writes: "Remember those stories not so long ago about people being sued by the government for use of their land on the border to build the border wall? It turns out that some are not getting sued and there is a reason why. The Texas Observer investigated and found that Homeland Security won't say why the border wall is bypassing the wealthy and politically connected. "Holes in the Wall" http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2688"
XBox (Games)

Submission + - MS announces self-published games for Xbox Live (xbox.com)

Khuffie writes: "At the Game Developer's Conference currently going on, Microsoft has announced Community games in which anyone can publish, review, download and play games on Xbox Live. Members of the XNA Creators Club, which costs $99 for 12 months, will be able to self-publish games after they have been reviewed and vetted by a 'community of peers' for 'appropriateness'. A special preview of 7 games will be available for download until the 24th of February. Videos and more details here."
The Internet

Submission + - Andrew Keen: Internet Anonymity Breeds Criminals

An anonymous reader writes: Renowned for his radical, anti-Internet views, Silicon Valley author, broadcaster, and entrepreneur Andrew Keen argues that Internet anonymity breeds faceless criminals. He insists that posting anonymously on social forums is fast becoming the norm and is the reason for inhumane consequences such as Megan Meier's death. Falling short of suggesting implementing tyrannical legislation against anonymous Internet users, Keen insists that those who do not want to reveal their true selves online have no business using the Internet.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft releases Office file formats

Philip Bailey writes: Microsoft has released the binary formats of its major Office file types. Specifications for .doc, .xls, .ppt files, and others, have been made available. Joel Spolsky, in an article today, describes the formats as "almost completely insane" in their complexity.

Will anybody bother to fully reimplement these formats in other software? What's in this for Microsoft?
Novell

Submission + - SCO goes private, gets $100M to keep going (linux-watch.com)

Trigun writes: "SCO, which had been reduced to be trading OTC (over the counter) in the Pink Sheets after having been kicked off the Nasdaq in December 2007, found an angel investor in SNCP and its Middle Eastern partners. In return for the $100 million to reorganize, SNCP will take over the company and take it private. Prior to this refinancing news out of the blue, SCO's stock had been trading for 6 cents per share."
Quickies

Submission + - Church of Myconology parody of scientology.org (churchofmyconology.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Myconology is the worship and consumption of huge mounds of manure while living in a stale, lifeless environment and giving yourself entirely to some relentless moron. The Mycon system of belief firmly embraces all of the following: Mushrooms have it good. They are kept completely in the dark and eat whatever is laying around, with no need for conscious thought. Mushrooms can be harvested for the sole benefit of the reaper without the need for compensation. Why can't humans be more like that? The truth is... they can.
Patents

Submission + - Lawmakers Debate Patent Immunity for Banks (washingtonpost.com)

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Now that a small Texas company has a patent on scanning and archiving checks — something every bank does — lawmakers feel they have to do something about it. Rather than reform patent law, they seem to think it wiser to protect the banks from having to pay billions in royalties by using eminent domain to buy the patent for $1 billion in taxpayer money, immunizing the banks. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)."
The Courts

Submission + - SCO and more financing to continue the fight?! (groklaw.net)

bobmorning writes: PJ over at Groklaw reports: " SCO announces reorganization plan — $100 M from SNCP & "partners from the Middle East", to go private Thursday, February 14 2008 @ 01:04 PM EST Here's the press release, titled "The SCO Group Announces Reorganization Plan to Include $100 Million Financing by Stephen Norris Capital Partners". It seems Stephen Norris Capital Partners "and its partners from the Middle East" have fallen in love with SCO's "vast range of products and services"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Microsoft Battles Vista "Perception" Issue (apcmag.com)

dan tynan writes: "APC mag has a funny blog by James Bannan, who takes an online survey offered by Microsoft about famous Vista "myths" that is in fact an Orwellian exercise in mind control. James is just a bit sarcastic about the whole thing, as any non-MSFT drone would be. Worth checking out."

Feed Techdirt: Canadian Businesses Speak Out Against Canadian DMCA (techdirt.com)

The entertainment industry has been pushing on Canada to introduce a version of the DMCA up north for years. Late last year, it looked like the effort was going to pay off in extremely one-sided legislation that was basically a wish list from Hollywood for changes in copyright law that clearly favored that industry over consumers' rights. While the Canadian politicians backing the proposal tried to push it through without too much scrutiny, Michael Geist's efforts to call attention to the effort helped get it postponed.

However, since then, the supporters of the bill keep looking to reintroduce it at a time when most folks are looking elsewhere. When pressed on the bill, they try to defend it, though the defenses are usually easily debunked. One of the main talking points in that link is that businesses are demanding these changes. However, Geist is now pointing out that a huge number of big businesses have now formed the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright in order to publicly speak out against the Canadian DMCA. The group includes a bunch of Canadian telcos, broadcasters, cable companies, retailers and internet firms -- all basically saying that the Canadian DMCA isn't what they want. So, what businesses are actually demanding these changes? Oh yeah, just a few big entertainment companies based in the US.

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Data Storage

Submission + - UK: Man Mistakenly Arrested, DNA Stored For Ever (guardian.co.uk) 1

crush writes: "A man arrested in the UK when his mp3 player was mistaken for a firearm will now have his DNA stored for ever in the national police database. The story reported in The Guardian details how armed police tracked him with CCTV, arrested him, detained him in a cell and have now stored his fingerprints, photograph and DNA even though no one is contesting that he is completely innocent. This appears to illustrate all the arguments civil liberties campaigners have made against the Orwellian police state which is unfolding."
The Internet

Submission + - Comcast Changes ToS to Thwart Lawsuits (comcast.net)

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Comcast has updated its ToS for the first time in two years. It now mentions, among other things, that Comcast 'uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards.' This mirrors language in the FCC's 2005 Internet Policy Statement (PDF) and is a clear attempt to thwart off lawsuits from customers who claim they were mislead. Of course, calling the forging of RST packets 'reasonable network management' doesn't make it true."
Censorship

Submission + - Muslims Attempt to Censor Wikipedia

Nom du Keyboard writes: As reported on Fox News and The New York Times, some Muslims are attempting to censor Wikipedia because of images of Muhammad contained in the article about him. So does one religion get to tell the rest of the world how they must behave because they'll be offended otherwise, or does the Internet represent all views, even when that view may be offensive to some particular minority?

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